You wouldn’t expect that from the pen behind some of the creepiest episodes of TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lost. Or the man also wrote the big-monster movie Cloverfield and directed Cabin in the Woods, the genre busting horror flick. But Drew Goddard was so disturbed by the first horror film he ever saw he had trouble sleeping for a month.
“My younger brother loved horror movies way before I did and one night he put on Sleepaway Camp,” he says, “which is not a very good movie. But to be fair I don’t remember because I’ve never been able to watch it again because it scared me so bad. I remember the first scene being something along the lines of two kids on a boat with their father and it is a very realistic depiction of their father having an accident and dying. Absolutely traumatized me.
“Then the movie gets crazier and crazier. It was The Crying Game before The Crying Game. So it was definitely the kind of thing a seven year old should NOT be witnessing. I remember I had to sleep in the hall outside my parent’s room for months afterwards because I was so scared by that.”
Later, in his teens he discovered the fun and escapism in horror movies. “There is a joy in being terrified,” he says, and it is that kind of rush he brought to his directorial debut Cabin in the Woods, co-written with his Buffy collaborator Joss Whedon.
“This movie came from a place of love,” he says. “We just love horror movies and set out to make a great horror movie. Then we started working on it and thought, ‘We’re not developing this for a studio. We have the freedom to do what we want, so let’s do whatever we want. Let’s put everything we’ve ever wanted to see in one movie into this one movie.’”
The result is a movie HitFix said, “is not just a great horror film, but also a thesis on why we need horror films and what role they serve in our diet.”
Goddard appreciated the raves the film has been receiving, but wants people to know he and Whedon aren’t trying to reinvent the horror wheel.
“From the structure there is more to it than five kids going out to the woods,” says Goddard, “but it’s not like we set out to unravel everything. It was more like, let’s do this and let the have the character’s ask the questions and have it be part of the fabric of the movie.
“It really came about by us saying we love the experience of going to horror cinema, and let’s try and give the audience the best possible time.”